[M.M.X.I.V. 365] Where this all came from!

As I have mentioned before, M.M.X.I.V. was a challenge from one of my cousins (though I came up with the name).  Today is the end of the year, so this is the 365th post that I have made this year!  I figure that a fitting end will be a pre-emptive “Throwback Thursday” post, to my journal of the day that this challenge was assessed!  Here goes nothing!

The background of the post: my family was staying in the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Milwaukee, for my cousin Ilana’s wedding.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

After tossing and turning for some of the night, I got up at 06:59.  I [quietly] used “Commence Party” to find my clothes, journal, and such. After equipping the half-and-half [polo shirt: one with both a Nebraska and a Northwestern logo] and skulking about the room, I became a lobbyist and a journalist in a corner. Though not super-efficient, I got to this bullet by 08:30. [My cousin] Jeff gave me the idea of blogging DAILY in 2014. I’ll give it a shot!

Returning to the room, I noticed that my jackets and scarves were not there, so Mom gave me a key to the hospitality room, and I took it downstairs. The doors use contactless technology. Trying the card on 113: Fail! On 114: Fail! Aunt Jane’s card: Fail! YAY–we have been Ventra’d! The old-fashioned rap on the door got us in, and indeed my stuff was there. I’M AN IDIOT!

In the restaurant in the hotel, the Minnesota Robinsons had finished eating, and the grandparents and the Ruffs appeared. We (i.e. the Weiss clan) waited until just after nine, and walked off toward the Public Market. Mom and Molly turned me slightly aghast with the claim, “We never eat breakfast with the [extended] family at these events since Dad refuses to eat at the hotel,” and “Here we are, the resident aliens!” In the future, I will take high prices or undesirable food if it means spending time with kin–bringing up the mantra of this weekend: FAMILY OVER EVERYTHING.

Walking south on Broadway, we saw Benelux on a catty corner past the freeway underpass, and this is where we stopped for brunch. It’s a German bar that had a brunch menu. Looking at the menu, we stayed. Levi got a burger, Mom got an omelette, Molly got an (I don’t remember), Dad got beignets, and I got טוסט צרפתי חלה (challah French toast). We discussed many things: gifts, decor, rickety tables in cafes, and further miscellany.

I really enjoyed the food. Some of the tension seemed to have calmed down, though Levi and Dad described it as grumpiness in a subtle way. Sigh. We left at 10:20, and headed to the Public Market on the catty corner (meow). It made me think of a small scale of Faneuil Hall in Boston, with the fish vendors, cheese, sandwiches, chocolates, trinkets, spices, and more. I was full and had no intention of buying anything. But, these places are fun as cultural experiences.

Continuing down Broadway (steeeee-rike!), we went to the Kasana building. It had a jewelry/shoe/gift shop (respectively, Sachen, Shoo, and 3rd Ward Jewelry), and we started there. Yet, we weren’t trapped there forever! The book “Stick Man’s Really Bad Day” caught my attention–a story told in road and cautionary signs. Mom got an expensive, colorful pair of shoes.

(In that last paragraph, there is a double pun with the “Steeeee-rike!”. The tables at Benelux were made of old bowling alley wood. I also thought of the radio play-by-play announcers at Saltdogs baseball games with the saying, “Right down Broadway for strike one.”)

Our shopping continued in short stints at stores in the Third Ward. This included Embelezar, Hoarder’s, and Design Within Reach. Nobody bought anything, but the sun started to peek out–YAY! (I realize that is non-sequitur.) The time reached 11:45 as we returned to the hotel, after Casey texted to let us know that she was coming. We saw her unpacking her car, and we bonded together as a family arc.

Up in the room, everyone but Dad and I went to the Third Ward again, as Dad read and I wrote. After he did 20 minutes of stretching, he checked my zits and moles–all are fine. (Yeah, I know that may be too much information :p)  The rest of the hour was uneventful, until we all headed to the hospitality room.

Today is also [cousin] Elizabeth’s 18th birthday (wow!) so there was a tasty cookie-cake. It was in addition to the candy, chocolate, chips, pop, and other goodies from yesterday. The Iowa/Wisconsin football game was on, and the Badgers blew a close game open. I also helped Ben with unit conversions for his homework.

The Nebraska/Northwestern football game started! The Big Red received the kickoff, and marched without much resistance to go up 7-0. The Wildcats responded with a touchdown drive of their own, and forced Nebraska into a three-and-out. Northwestern took a 14-7 lead, but there were also two injuries that required carting off a player. We headed to The Grain Exchange at the end of the quarter in order to have the pictures taken.

The family all got pictures taken, with us against the stairs, and also in view of the חופה (wedding canopy). The Weiss involvement in photos was brief, and with that, Dad and I returned to the hospitality room to watch the game. Alas, the game was at the halftime break, with my graduate school up 21-14.

The remainder of halftime was unremarkable. For the rest of the game that I could see, the score knotted at 21 off of a Siemian pick-six. We headed back to The Grain Exchange at 17:15, and got to a row near the front. The wedding ceremony was held in a large room with grain-based art on the walls, a tall ceiling and windows, and subdued lighting. In the loft to my right, photos were being taken, and they were probably also signing the כתובה (wedding contract). The ceremony started at around 17:40.

For once, the bridal entrance was not met with the rising of the assembly. The Rabbi talked for a long while about the number 18, which included 1918, and June 18, פרשת חוקת (Parashat Chukat, which Ilana read for her bat mitzvah), baseball, the Red Sox, and the Empire State Building. It seemed to drag, but was still engaging. However, in the ring exchange, the Rabbi perpetuated a grammatical bugaboo: both the Rabbi and Ilana said in the call-and-response: “הראה את” (it should be אתה). Sorry that I’m a grammatical stickler!

Of course, I was distracted by the undertone comments on the football game that the Feldmans were watching behind me on their phones. At the end of the ceremony, Northwestern was leading by 3, and there were 4 seconds left in the game. The prevent defense that Northwestern used allowed Nebraska to throw a long Hail Mary pass. IT SUCCEEDED to make the score Red 27, Purple 24. The Feldmans were screaming as we headed to the first floor, showing me the end of the game on their phones. At least that didn’t happen before the ceremony ended!

At the cocktail party, I had Sprite, fries, crackers and veggies, beef, and conversations with family. Others were too awkward for me to join in, and I feel that many of the my-demographic women are non-single. But, the mingling was fun anyway, until the lights flickered to invite us upstairs back to where the ceremony was held. Going up, I snagged my table card: “Mr. Noal [sic] Weiss, Table 9.” Five cents, please!

The chairs in congregation style had been cleared for tables that were behind the folding walls. The band had set up where the חופה was, and all the centerpieces had candles. After a while, we did המוצאי (blessing over the bread) and more speeches. The people often read from scripts, using embarrassing stories and more. Of course, the details have escaped me.

They cut the cake early, after the bride/groom and bride/father dances. Dinner was brisket, but the sides I did not like. I took the hint from [Aaron’s wedding] and did NOT foul, keeping pace with the slower eaters. Then, I started dancing. But, the music was more full of pop than slow or traditional tunes. Of course, the הורה (hora) was one of these, and I enjoyed the circles of that.

Levi told me that I have a lot of confidence with “party” dancing, though he is more skilled with ballroom. I got to dance with all aunts except Soni, but took no dances one-on-one with non-family. Evidently I feared the word “no” this time. Each dance is different. However, I did enjoy the cake and chocolate fountain.

As the night wore down at 23:30, the last dances were slow dances, which somewhat excluded Levi and me. Mom, Dad, and the girls had already left, and Mom was worn out by [cousin] Maggie, who was indefatigable. This is the awkward thing about single status. But when we returned to the hotel, and prepped for bed, we saw the highlight reel of the game. It reminds me of Missouri 1997 for the Huskers! I hit the hay at “23:05” after Falling Back for the shift from Daylight Saving Time.



So, Jeff, I have successfully completed M.M.X.I.V.–posting every day in the year 2014!  It was a really fun experience, even if it was cumbersome at times.  It’s not always easy to write, but I found a way to get a post every day.  I’m not done yet–I’d like to have 74 more days of posts in order to extend the Winning Streak to twenty-one squared!


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